In Mississippi County, Missouri, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet, water hasn't been this high since 1937.
It was that flood that prompted the Flood Control Act of 1937 and the construction of an interstate system of levees. Parts of those levees were designed to open up a flood way in extreme flooding situations. That opening would relieve pressure on the system during major flood events and actually lower flood stages.
With the Mississippi and Ohio rivers surpassing the record levels of 1937 this spring in Southeast Missouri, the Army Corps of Engineers has used explosives to do just that. The intentional opening of the levee is meant to save some river towns like Cairo, Illinois, but has inundated fertile farmland in the flood plain of Mississippi County, Missouri, with flood water.
Bob Byrne owns 550 acres of land inside the flood plain that has been in his family for more than 100 years.
"I was standing on top of the levee back here when it went and it's just kind of heart-wrenching, just a sinking feeling," Byrne said.
"We've seen the Ohio River rampage, water right up to the top of the levee. We've seen this one (Mississippi) on the rampage, but never the two together," he said.
He plants wheat, corn and soy beans on the property. Byrne said his year is over unless the water gets off his land quickly.
"If we can get a soy bean crop planted by middle of June, first of July, we'll make crop," he said.
He already planted wheat and prepared the land for corn.
"So far, we've probably lost $40,000 on our wheat crop," Byrne said.
Norbert Rolwing, 93, farmed land in the flood plain during the record-setting flood in 1937.
"This is one of the things that happens once in a great while and you just have to take it on the chin," Rowling said.
"There's no winners here," Michael Reuter of the Nature Conservancy said.
"Our heart goes out to those people, but the challenge that we're forced to make here is how to balance the management of these rivers for people and nature, and there's communities up and down stream that had to be factored into this decision, as well," Reuter said.
Still, that doesn't make Byrne feel any better about his property.
"If the water doesn't get off and the land doesn't dry up, I'm going to have to do something else," he said.
A group of Missouri farmers have filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government for the decision to blow the levee. Though the Army Corps has flowage easements attached to the farmer's property, the class action suit reportedly is asking for compensation for taking their land.
"Way back in the Depression days when anybody would do anything to get a penny, that's when they got all of the easements on this kind of stuff," Byrne said.
Though he is not part of the legal action, Byrne said he will be studying the class action suit and will most likely join.